Sixty Years Young
On 'Big Troubles.'
Happy Thursday! This issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter is about a groundbreaking piece of Soviet animation: Big Troubles (1961) by the Brumberg sisters.
In the early ‘60s, something changed for animation in the USSR. Films like The Bath (1962) and The Story of a Crime (1962) started to appear — blowing up the accepted rules of cartoon subject matter, of Socialist Realism. They weren’t all for children anymore, and they looked new.
The Soviet cartoons of the ‘50s leaned naturalistic, but these modern films ran as far as they could in the other direction. And Big Troubles was one of the very first. It seems initially to be a children’s film — but it’s really a black comedy for adults about the collapse of a Soviet family, rendered in super-stylized visuals.
Historian Georgy Borodin has called Big Troubles “the first ‘manifesto’ of the new Soviet animation.” And it just might be.
That’s what we’re exploring today. Here we go!